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Mar 2, 2023

memoQ Regex Assistant workshops re-run

The series of three workshops on the use of regex resources in memoQ, with a particular emphasis on the integrated Regex Assistant library, has been updated and will be offered again on March 9, 16 and 23 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 Lisbon time (4:00 pm to 5:30 pm CET, 10:00 am-11:30 am EST).

You can register here to attend any or all of the three sessions:

This is an evolving course, with the content continuously adapted in response to new questions, workflow challenges and process research as well as interoperability studies with other tools. Participants in the last series asked quite a number of interesting things during and after the talks, and their questions provided excellent material for new examples and approaches, and I hope for the same experience in this round.

The memoQ Regex Assistant is a unique library tool introduced in its current form in memoQ version 9.9. The little bit of public discussion there has been about this tool is quite misleading. Contrary to the "pitch" from memoQ employees and nerdy fans in the user base, this isn't really a tool for learning regular expressions. There are much better means for doing that. And I have strong personal objections to the idiotic statements I hear so often that "everyone should learn some regex". What utter nonsense.

What everyone should do is take advantage of the power regular expressions offer to simplify time-consuming tasks of translation, review, quality assurance and more to ensure accuracy and consistency in language resources and translations. The Regex Assistant helps with this by providing a platform where useful "expressions" can be collected and organized with readable names, labels and descriptions in any language. These libraries can be sorted, exchange with other users and applied for filtering, find and replace operations, QA checks, segmentation improvements, structured translation of dates, currency expressions, bibliographic information, legal citations and more or exported and converted to formats for easy use in other tools such as Trados Studio, Phrase/Memsource, Transtools+ and more. All without the need to learn any regular expression syntax!

HTML created from a memoQ Regex Assistant library export
An exported Regex Assistant library converted to a readable format by XSLT

My objective is not to teach regex syntax. It is to empower users to take more control of their work environment and save time and frustration for their teams and enjoy more life beyond the wordface. To help with that, I provide some usable examples in a follow-up mail after each sessions: resources that you can use in your own work and share freely with colleagues. 

And in this next round of workshops, available for purchase, there will be some additional high value resources to help achieve better outcomes for work in particular language pairs and particular specialties, such as financial translations. These complex resources were developed over a period of years, sometimes at great cost. In the last session I'll be getting "down and dirty and a little nerdy" to show you my way of maintaining complex resources like these auto-translation rules and others in a very effective, sustainable way that enables you to adapt quickly to changing requirements and style guides.

Sign up free to join the fun here.

Jan 12, 2023

memoQ&A: The Regex Assistant in Practice

Note: there will be another series of workshops for this subject matter in March. Details are HERE. Register once to attend any or all of the sessions.

Users of memoQ version 9.9 or later have a powerful library tool available with which they can organize solutions or solution elements that use regular expressions and apply these without the complications of learning regex syntax. In each session, we'll look at different ways in which these portable libraries can be used, with a particular emphasis on solving common problems faced by translators and reviewers. Materials will also be made available to participants for later study and practice.

There will be three sessions of 90 minutes each on three consecutive Thursdays: January 19, January 26 and February 2 at 11:00 a.m. Lisbon time (i.e. noon CET). The first session will introduce the Regex Assistant library and its basic functions for organizing and exchanging information and then move on to specific examples of using the library to deal with common problems encountered in translation and review work. Particular emphasis in the first session will be on filtering and Find/Replace operations. 

The two later sessions will continue to explore filtering and options for making changes to texts and tags, and we will also take a tour of possibilities for using regular expression resources (from the library!) in other parts of memoQ such as the Regex Tagger, QA checks or auto-translation rules. As time permits, examples or requests from participants can also be explored. 

Those interested in joining the free sessions can register here.

Update: a recording of the first session is available here:

To get a little taste of what's to come, have a look at this video created by a colleague last year:

Jun 24, 2022

The Invisible Hand of Social Media


We've probably all been there by now. The evolution of social media platforms has seen the "rise of the machines", with artificial (non-)intelligence programmed by unintelligent humans monitoring and managing our actions, sometimes with little or no possibilities of pushback on our part or processes that waste inordinate amounts of time to obtain correction. We see this on Facebook, LinkedIn and other media which are too often also a major venue for business communication and technical support for professional tools we use. In the case involved with the screenshots above, my "wicked" comment was made with regard to an economic theory promulgated by the long-dead white Englishman, Adam Smith, and I was given the opportunity to protest to an external board after the fourth-world budget help confirmed that I was indeed a bad person promoting terrorism. I wrote:
There was a discussion about the abuses of capitalism and the flawed thinking of Adam Smith's "invisible hand", which he thought guided markets to do the right thing without control. As we all know, it is necessary for societies to exercise some control to protect health and safety, the environment etc. Blind belief in the invisible hand too often leads to tragedy -- in a sense, this invisible hand concept points the middle finger at us humans too often. So I suggested a metaphorical amputation of a metaphorical middle finger on a metaphorical invisible hand, meaning that we need legislation, etc. to protect against abuses in an unrestricted market. No real violence against any living beings whatsoever was suggested. The AI used by Facebook is functionally idiotic.

Consider also that if the hand is invisible the metaphorical blood must be too, so amputation should shock nobody, as any gore will also be invisible ;-)

Now all that is just a bit of amusement over coffee in the morning. But other cases are more serious, like the automated banning of a Ukrainian software developer for two months on LinkedIn because Putinist trolls objected to him trying to describe the reality of serving his customers while coffee breaks are accompanied by missile strikes and business-as-usual genocide. It seems that a certain volume of complaints can trigger a ban even when no specific violation can be identified. Artificial intelligence indeed.

Entirely too much trust is granted to automation, almost a reflex, even when it obviously contradicts logic and common sense. In the translation sector, I encounter time and again the idea that language services work should be cheaper if it involves text pre-proccessed by machine translation such as DeepL, even when it can be demonstrated that achieving the desired level of quality takes longer than if the text were translated by human effort only. So time isn't money for these people, I guess. The real issue is slavelancing.

Some postulate that most people need to believe in a Higher Power of some sort and take from it the direction and meaning of their lives. I used to dispute that, but seeing now how so many educated people in the business world have replaced Nin-girsu, Shiva, Allah, Nossa Senhora da Fatima and Mighty Cthulu with the new God of MTness, I suspect I may have been wrong.

As with most religions, it's our people and their welfare who are the true victims of this automation religion, while the priests argue that the real problem is that we haven't sacrificed enough to that invisible middle finger the technologists wave in our faces.

But I ask, what's the harm of paying a few more cents if you must if it leads at last to a lot more sense and better understanding for us all?